What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is a set of techniques that are used to get a site or page to rank higher in search engines by breaking the terms of service for those search engines. The term “black hat” came from Western movies, where “bad guys” wore black hats and “good guys” wore white hats (see white hat SEO). It’s been used more and more to describe computer hackers, people who make viruses, and people who do bad things with computers.
In this piece, you’ll find out:
- Black Hat SEO means
- Black Hat SEO is a term for a set of methods and strategies
- How to report shady SEO practices
- How Black Hat SEO can hurt you and your website
It’s important to know that using Black Hat SEO techniques and strategies can get your site banned from search engines. This means you won’t get traffic from the number one source on the Internet. All SEOs need to know what Black Hat SEO is and what happens when it is used.
What, Exactly, is Black Hat SEO?
Black Hat SEO is usually defined as an unapproved technique that could still boost a page’s position on a search engine results page (SERP). The search engine’s terms of service say that these things are not allowed, so the site could be banned from the search engine and its affiliate sites.
On Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines, a list of the tricks and strategies that black hat SEO experts use is openly called out. “Does the work I’m doing help the user, or am I just doing it so search engines can see it?
Is a good way to tell if an SEO strategy would violate a search engine’s webmaster guidelines. If the user doesn’t get anything out of what you do, but your rankings are likely to go up, what you’re doing is likely black hat. The same test can be used to figure out if a paid search practice is considered “black hat PPC.”
Known Black Hat SEO Strategies
The following SEO techniques are considered “black hat” and should not be used at all if you want to stay in good standing with Google and other search engines:
- Content Automation
- Doorway Pages
- Hidden Text or Links
- Keyword Stuffing
- Reporting a Competitor (or Negative SEO)
- Sneaky Redirects
- Link Schemes
- Guest Posting Networks
- Link Manipulation (including buying links)
- Article Spinning
- Link Farms, Link Wheels or Link Networks
- Rich Snippet Markup Spam
- Automated Queries to Google
- Creating pages, subdomains, or domains with duplicate content
How to Report a Black Hat SEO
You can report black hat SEO for two reasons. Either someone attacked your website with a hack, virus, or spammy links as part of a negative SEO campaign, or you see spammy web results when you search for a competitive keyword that your website ranks for.
For the second, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to report web spam. Please be smart about how you use this tool. SPAM does not deserve to be above me in search results. Black hat SEO could mean that you lie about web spam.
If your website was attacked by a hack, virus, or malware, ask for a malware review after you removed the bad code.
If your website is the target of a negative SEO campaign with spammy links, you can use the Disavow Links Tool in Google Webmaster Tools to get these links removed after you’ve tried to contact the webmasters who are linking to your website.
Why Should You Stay Away From “Black Hat” SEO?
If you use Black Hat SEO techniques, Google and other search engines may ban your site. Even though you may have some short-term success if more people visit your site, Google’s penalties are getting smarter and can hurt your rankings and traffic in a very bad way.
With hundreds of millions of people using Google every day to search for things, can you really afford to be de-indexed?